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Announcing... Washington Performing Arts’s return to live, in-person performance!
Join us for 20+ events in 9 venues throughout the Greater D.C. region

Subscriptions on sale Tuesday, August 31
Single tickets on sale Wednesday, September 15

We are thrilled to share with you our 2021/22 Season schedule, showcasing exceptional artists from around the world—including right here in the DMV—representing a wealth of genres, cultures, and traditions. Please scroll down for capsule descriptions and click below to view/print our handy Season-at-a-Glance and season press release. Complete season details, including event prices and purchase information, will be published on this site in the weeks to come, and a season brochure will be mailed to recent subscribers and ticket-buyers. Please stand by, and… Welcome Back!

Open Season-at-a-Glance Open Press Release

2021/22 Season Performances

Matthew Whitaker

2021/22 Season Opener

Matthew Whitaker Quartet
with special guests
Washington Performing Arts
Children of the Gospel Choir
Michele Fowlin, artistic director

Fri, Oct 15, 8pm
Lincoln Theatre

A former child prodigy, profiled on 60 Minutes and The Today Show, 20-year-old jazz pianist-organist Matthew Whitaker has wowed audiences from L.A.’s Playboy Jazz Festival—where he “inspired spontaneous dancing and a standing ovation” (L.A. Times)—to the Apollo Theatre and a (pre-COVID) 2020 Washington Performing Arts performance. He brings his irresistible virtuosity back to D.C. this fall, with a special guest appearance by our own Children of the Gospel Choir.

Lara Downes

Tomorrow I May Be Far Away

Lara Downes
with special guests
Rita Dove, poet
and Thalea Quartet

Wed, Nov 3, 8pm
Sixth & I

Hailed for her “luscious, moody, and dreamy” playing by the New York Times, pianist Lara Downes is equally celebrated as a musical innovator and cultural investigator—as heard most recently and widely on her NPR interview series, Amplify with Lara Downes. In this performance, she presents a kaleidoscopic evening of music and poetry inspired by myriad stories of migration and transformation, joined in special-guest appearances by Pulitzer-winning poet Rita Dove and by the vibrant and innovative Thalea Quartet, Graduate String Quartet in residence at the University of Maryland School of Music. The program includes works by William Grant Still, Duke Ellington, Florence Price, Nina Simone, Alvin Singleton, Carlos Simon, and Quinn Mason.

Tiffany Poon

Hayes Piano Artist

Tiffany Poon

Sun, Dec 12, 2pm
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

The phrase “something old, something new” comes to mind when considering the career to date of 24-year-old Hong Kong–born pianist Tiffany Poon. Steeped in classical tradition as a onetime student of Emanuel Ax and Joseph Kalichstein, she is also devoted to demystifying and building new audiences for classical music via her YouTube channel, where nearly 300,000 subscribers follow her concert videos, vlog entries, and “Classical Chats.” She devotes her Hayes Artist recital to works by Clara and Robert Schumann.

Living the Dream...Singing the Dream

Living the Dream…Singing the Dream

Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choirs
Michele Fowlin & Theodore Thorpe III, artistic directors
The Choral Arts Society of Washington
Scott Tucker, artistic director

Sun, Jan 30, 7pm
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

The long-running, ever-popular tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. returns to in-person performance(!) as the combined choirs of Washington Performing Arts and Choral Arts celebrate the power of music, collaboration, and the human spirit.

Co-presented with the Choral Arts Society of Washington

Sphinx Symphony Orchestra

Sphinx Symphony Orchestra
Tito Muñoz, conductor

EXIGENCE Vocal Ensemble and Members of The Washington Chorus
Eugene Rogers, music director

J’Nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano

Tue, Feb 1, 8pm
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of its parent Sphinx Organization, the 55-member Sphinx Orchestra, an all-Black-and-Latinx ensemble of top professionals from around the country, is joined by Sphinx’s own Exigence Vocal Ensemble and by D.C.-based guests The Washington Chorus, along with a special guest appearance by Met Opera star J’Nai Bridges. The program includes Joel Thompson’s powerful Seven Last Words of the Unarmed (which a Washington Performing Arts audience last heard in the March 2020 I Am a Man concert) plus additional works by Coleridge-Taylor, Carlos Simon, and others.

Co-presented with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in cooperation with The Washington Chorus

Hazel Scott

Free Performance:
Hazel Scott 101st Birthday Celebration: Program 1

The United States Air Force Band
Col Don Schofield, commander and conductor
Michelle Cann, piano
Karen Chilton, co-narrator and co-curator
Adam Clayton Powell III, co-narrator
Murray Horwitz, writer and co-curator

Sat, Feb 5, 8pm
Lincoln Theatre

Pianist, actress, and activist Hazel Scott was one of the best-known musicians and celebrities of the first half of the 20th century, famed in the 1930s and ’40s as the “Queen of Cafe Society” (the first racially integrated nightclub in New York City) and in 1950 becoming the first Black American woman to host her own TV show. A true “Renaissance artist,” steeped in both the jazz and classical traditions, she was equally at home performing with a small combo, a big band, or a full orchestra—sometimes even playing two pianos simultaneously. This concert, part of a multi-event Washington Performing Arts “centenary-plus-one” celebration, features music Scott loved to perform plus other chestnuts from her era—including works by George Gershwin, Florence Price, and others.

Co-presented with The United States Air Force Band

Syncopated Ladies

Syncopated Ladies

Sun, Feb 20, 8pm
Lincoln Theatre

Get ready for an explosion of tap-dance innovation, celebration, and motivation as the Syncopated Ladies take the Lincoln Theatre stage! Founded by D.C.-born, Emmy-nominated dancer-choreographer Chloe Arnold, the L.A.-based Syncopated Ladies combine their supercharged tapping with hip-hop, pop, and more in a singular style that has won fans around the globe (including celebs like Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, and Debbie Allen), more than 50 million online video views (including 2 million views in a single day for their video of Beyoncé’s “In Formation”), and national TV appearances on the likes of The Ellen Show and Good Morning America. Experience their magic for yourself—live and in-person—this February.

Martin James Bartlett

Hayes Piano Artist

Martin James Bartlett

Sun, Mar 6, 2pm
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

The BBC’s “Young Musician of the Year” in 2014 and the first-place winner of the 2019 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, 25-year-old English pianist Martin James Bartlett joins the estimable ranks of the Hayes Artists with a wide-ranging program of Rameau, Couperin, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, and more. In its five-star review of 2019’s Love and Death, Bartlett’s debut outing on Warner Classics, The Times (UK) wrote, “Bartlett’s ability to think long-term, rather than give in to immediate excitement, is probably his most impressive trait. No.2 on his score card may be his unaffected delicacy of touch, color, and tone…. Everything works to illuminate the music.”

Presented in partnership with Young Concert Artists

Yo-Yo Ma, Leonidas Kavakos, and Emanuel Ax

In Memory of Isaac Stern,
Celebrating His 101st Birthday

Emanuel Ax, piano
Leonidas Kavakos, violin
Yo-Yo Ma, cello

Mon, Mar 7, 8pm
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

They’re back! The classical “super-trio” who dazzled and delighted a capacity Washington Performing Arts audience in February of 2018 returns to the Kennedy Center this March, delving into an all-Beethoven program. As the Washington Post wrote of that earlier performance, “It is undeniably exciting to hear three musicians bursting with such virtuosity and charisma together…. They fed off the electricity in the hall.” Be there this March, when lightning strikes twice. [Program note: Specific works TBA.]

Davóne Tines

Davóne Tines, bass-baritone
Lester Green, piano

Tue, Mar 15, 8pm
Sixth & I

Davóne Tines is “[a] singer of immense power and fervor” (Los Angeles Times), celebrated internationally for a path-breaking approach that combines a diverse repertoire with exploration of current social issues. In this recital with piano maestro Lester Green (recently seen accompanying mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges in our Home Delivery Plus 2021 online series), Tines grounds his program in the ordinarium of the Roman Catholic Mass—Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei—juxtaposing the music of Bach with contemporary settings by Caroline Shaw, Tyshawn Sorey, and others, and drawing on the traditions of art song, spirituals, and gospel.

Lil Buck

Memphis Jookin’: The Show

Lil Buck

Fri, Mar 25, 8pm
Lincoln Theatre

One of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch,” street-dance sensation Charles “Lil Buck” Riley has collaborated with a staggering range of renowned artists, including Yo-Yo Ma (in a video directed by Spike Jonze), Spike Lee, JR, Damian Woetzel, the New York City Ballet, and Madonna. In this new, evening-length production, he brings his innovative choreography and gravity-defying dancing to a celebration of the dance and music scenes of his home city of Memphis, TN, and of the namesake Memphis Jookin’ style that launched his brilliant career.

Hilary Hahn and Andreas Haefliger

Hilary Hahn, violin
Andreas Haefliger, piano

Tue, Mar 29, 7:30pm
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

Internationally renowned since her teens, violinist Hilary Hahn is one of the most prominent and widest-ranging artists in classical music today (and a longtime Washington Performing Arts friend and collaborator), devoting equal passion to her interpretations of Bach and to the championing of new works. She is also one of today’s most accessible and relatable artists, giving her ardent fans on social media a behind-the-scenes look at her often-grueling practice process and more. Her virtuosity and accessibility will come to the fore in this recital in the intimate setting of the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, where she is joined by German-Swiss piano master Andreas Haefliger, famed for “sonoristic and expressive nuances that not many others care to explore” (Gramophone). [Note: Program TBA.]

English with an Accent

English with an Accent

Music and Lyrics by Migguel Anggelo and Jaime Lozano
Migguel Anggelo, lead artist
Jaime Lozano, musical director and arranger
Sarah O’Gleby, director

Fri, Apr 1, 8pm
GALA Hispanic Theatre

Created by multidisciplinary Venezuelan artist Migguel Anggelo, English with an Accent is a new, hybrid work of dance and theater, narrated in a storytelling song-cycle and backed by a company of dancers and singers, largely composed of immigrants. The story is a semi-autobiographical fable that follows the journey of a newly arrived caterpillar in New York City. Fleeing the crime and noxious dictatorship of Venezuela, and unsure of which direction his insect life is taking, the protagonist of the story wonders: is he really a caterpillar, or just a lowly worm? As the caterpillar explores the streets of New York City, he begins to question his own identity as well as the promise of the “American Dream.” The work reflects Anggelo’s own story, exploring the intersections of queer, Latino, and immigration identities, as well as the role of the artist in contemporary society.

Co-presented with GALA Hispanic Theater. Commissioning support from the Cultural Arts Center at Montgomery College.

Itzhak Perlman

An Evening with Itzhak Perlman

Itzhak Perlman, violin
Rohan De Silva, piano

Sat, Apr 2, 8pm
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

One of the world’s most respected violinists and music educators, Itzhak Perlman has reached out to new audiences throughout his storied career, from the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958 to Sesame Street in the 1980s to 2018’s duet with jazz pianist Jon Batiste on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In this multi-media program, joined by master pianist and longtime collaborator Rohan De Silva, he treats a Washington Performing Arts audience to a unique and intimate window on his life and work through live performance, rarely seen home movies, and personal anecdotes from more than a half-century of music-making.

Zakir Hussain

Triveni

Zakir Hussain, tabla
Jayanthi Kumaresh, veena
Kala Ramnath, Carnatic violin

Thu, Apr 14, 8pm
Sixth & I

A hallmark of tabla maestro and Washington Performing Arts audience favorite Zakir Hussain’s iconic career has been his groundbreaking work in fostering musical dialogues between Hindustani (North Indian) and Carnatic (South Indian) music. The title of this performance pays homage to this spirit: Triveni is the mythical site of the union of three sacred rivers in India, and at Sixth & I next April, Hussain leads a trio of Indian classical music virtuosos. Each member of the group is a leading exponent of their respective instrument—tabla, violin, and Saraswati veena—and each is also renowned as a master collaborator, innovator, and educator. Expect to be awestruck!

Joyce DiDonato

Eden

Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano
Il Pomo d’Oro

Sun, Apr 24, 7pm
The Music Center at Strathmore

Famed for a “presence felt with immediacy—vocally, viscerally, and with virtuosic impact” (Opera Today), Joyce DiDonato returns to Washington Performing Arts with a new, visionary passion project: Eden. Weaving together elements of theater and music—including works by Handel, Ives, Gluck, Mahler, and others—DiDonato explores both humanity’s essence and the majesty, might, and mystery of Nature. Joining her on stage is il Pomo d’Oro, an acclaimed, 20-member chamber orchestra specializing in historical performance. As DiDonato herself said of the project, “I want to use my voice and my vision now to go straight into the hearts of my listeners, and make them feel how precious our lives are, how wondrous our vast Earth is, and how absolutely vital our connection to one another is.”

Danilo Pérez

Danilo Pérez’s Global Messengers

Sat, Apr 30, 8pm
Sixth & I

The “effortlessly hip” (Guardian), Grammy-winning jazz pianist and UNESCO Artist for Peace Danilo Pérez unites his twin passions of music and humanitarianism in this international sextet. The Panamanian-born Pérez and his bandmates—hailing from Palestine, Greece, and Jordan—contribute their respective cultural learnings and personal experiences with the goal of building community through music.

Johnny Gandelsman

Free Performance:
This is America
Johnny Gandelsman, solo violin

Fri, May 13, 8pm
Coolidge Auditorium, The Library of Congress

Best-known to D.C. audiences as a co-founder of the adventurous string quartet Brooklyn Rider, violinist Johnny Gandelsman has re-imagined the works of Bach, recording not only the complete violin sonatas and partitas, but also the complete cello suites, praised by the New York Times for “an improvisatory feel of folk music.” His new project, This is America, is a set of 22 works for solo violin born out of the social-justice reckoning of 2020. The project gives voice to a diverse group of composers, including women, people of color, people of all ages, and representatives of myriad genres and backgrounds. The concert includes a new composition by Anjna Swaminathan, commissioned by Washington Performing Arts.

Co-presented with The Library of Congress

Christopher Tin's To Shiver the Sky

Free Performance:
Christopher Tin’s
To Shiver the Sky

The United States Air Force Band
Col Don Schofield, commander and conductor
Christopher Tin, conductor
The Choral Arts Society of Washington
Scott Tucker, artistic director

Sun, May 15, 7pm
The Anthem

After a year’s pandemic postponement, Christopher Tin’s monumental, multi-media salute to flight finally comes to the stage of The Anthem! Two-time Grammy-winning composer Christopher Tin is a master of the concert stage, silver screen, and gaming world. His work was featured on the soundtrack of blockbuster film Crazy Rich Asians, and he is beloved by millions thanks to his music for the game Civilization IV. To Shiver the Sky, a musical exploration of humankind’s journeys into the heavens, marries texts from pioneers of flight—from Leonard da Vinci to Amelia Earhart—to Tin’s inspiring and wonder-filled score for orchestra, chorus, and soloists.

Co-presented with The United States Air Force Band

Michelle Cann

Hazel Scott 101st Birthday Celebration: Program 2

Michelle Cann, piano

Wed, May 25, 8pm
Sixth & I

A major American artist of the mid-20th century, Hazel Scott was best-known as a virtuosic jazz pianist—a celebrated presence on stage, on records, in movies, and later, on television. But she was also an exceptional classical musician, at a time when classical artists of color had few opportunities to perform. In this recital, the second concert in our 2021/22 Hazel Scott “centenary-plus-one” tribute, pianist Michelle Cann pays tribute to Scott and to other female, African American, classically trained pianists and composers of Scott’s time, including Florence Price and Margaret Bonds—all of whom incorporated Black culture into their classical works. A newly announced recipient of a 2022 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, Cann has been hailed as “a compelling, sparkling virtuoso” by the Boston Music Intelligencer. She will also be joined on stage by special guests in dialogue about Hazel Scott.

Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choirs

2021/22 Season Finale

Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choirs
Michele Fowlin & Theodore Thorpe III, artistic directors

Sat, Jun 11, 8pm
Center for Performing Arts at Prince George’s Community College

Join the Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choirs for an unforgettable evening of inspiration as we close out the 2021/22 Season! For almost 30 years, these ensembles have shared the uplifting versatility of gospel music with audiences across the Washington metro area. Men and Women of the Gospel Choir, led by Theodore Thorpe III, rock the house with powerful and poignant performances while the Children of the Gospel Choir, led by Michele Fowlin, bring a youthful energy to the stage that is truly spellbinding.

Fall 2021 Free Event

The REACH

A Tribute to the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

Members of the Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choirs
Michele Fowlin & Theodore Thorpe III, artistic directors

Sat, Sep 11, 8:30am
The REACH Plaza at The Kennedy Center

To mark the 20th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 attacks, members of the Washington Men, Women, and Children of the Gospel Choirs sing in a powerful tribute event at The REACH—just across the Potomac River from the Pentagon.